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In Some Depth: Happy Columbus Day Anniversary

Carson Cistulli

Carson Cistulli writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Five-hundred and twenty years later, this article -- monitoring the 10 most notable depth-chart situations in the majors -- was published.

Coincidence? Of course!

In any case, here are those ten situations, order from AL East to NL West:

Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: Second Base
Players: Carlos Guillen, Ryan Raburn, Will Rhymes
Notes: Most readers will know that Carlos Guillen doesn't do a lot of "being healthy," but after missing the first three-and-a-half months of the season, fantasy owners everywhere justifiably expected that he (i.e. Guillen) would be healthy for at least a month. In fact, this won't be the case: the Tigers place Guillen on the DL Sunday with a sore wrist. Will Rhymes was recalled in a corresponding move, but Ryan Raburn is likely to get the majority of starts in Guillen's absence.

Team: Oakland Athletics
Position: First Base
Players: Brandon Allen, Conor Jackson
Notes: Brandon Allen, acquired by the A's as part of the Brad Ziegler trade with Arizona, was promoted to the majors on Saturday. Allen started that night but, somewhat curiously, manager Bob Melvin said that the first-base job is still Conor Jackson's to lose. Jackson was already scheduled to start at first on Sunday but was scratched with neck soreness. Or tightness. Or something-ness. In any case, it's a minor injury, and Jackson will continue to be the starter for the near future, it appears.

Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Right Field
Players: Jose Constanza, Jason Heyward
Notes: Look at the Atlanta Braves lineups over the last 10 games (through Saturday, at least) and you'll find something peculiar -- namely, the name "Jose Constanza" over and over again in right field, where Jason Heyward's usually is. Between August 2 and August 13, Constanza was given seven starts in right field to Heyward's three. Notably, there was nothing wrong with Heyward, nor had he been held hostage by any of the many terrorist cells that call Turner Field home. In fact, it appears as though Fredi Gonzalez has made these arrangements personally. Heyward owners would do well to monitor Heyward's (and Constanza's) playing time for the immediate future.

Team: Florida Marlins
Position: Shortstop
Players: Emilio Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez
Notes: Ramirez is likely to return Thursday the 18th -- i.e. the first day he's eligible -- and should resume his role as starting shortstop at that point. How will that affect Emilio Bonifacio, who's posted a career-best .286/.356/.369 this season, while also stealing a career-best 28 stolen bases? Read on...

Team: Florida Marlins
Position: Left Field
Players: Emilio Bonifacio, Logan Morrison, Bryan Petersen
Notes: Is Logan Morrison a player with the third-best OPS (.791) on his team, or a player who's slashed just .215/.284/.414 since May 28th? Well, he's both. He's also a player who was just (somewhat surprisingly) optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Bryan Petersen will likely get the left-field starts until Hanley Ramirez returns -- at which point, it's wholly possible that Bonifacio will take over in left (or center, where Mike Cameron's been getting a bunch of starts).

Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Third Base
Players: Michael Martinez, Placido Polanco, Wilson Valdez
Notes: Polanco hasn't started since Saturday the 6th, missing time first because of hip soreness and second -- and more relevantly -- because of a sports hernia. The question facing Polanco is either to undergo surgery now or after the season. If Polanco chooses the former option, he'd be out almost all the way up till the playoffs. The latest reports suggest he's leaning towards the latter option. A mid-week return would be likely in that case, but there's no answering to how well Polanco would play in that case.

Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Third Base
Players: Miguel Cairo, Todd Frazier
Notes: With Scott Rolen out until September, the Reds appear to have an excellent opportunity to give prospect Todd Frazier regular playing time. In fact, that's what has happened of late, with Frazier getting seven consecutive starts between Sunday the 7th and Saturday the 13th. Unfortunately, the extended run is due, at least in part, to an oblique injury that's limited Miguel Cairo. Well enough to play on Sunday, Cairo got the start at third. Of course, that's no guarantee that Cairo will get every start -- but with Cairo well again, it's difficult to imagine a scenario in which manager Dusty Baker restrains himself from playing Cairo at least occasionally.

Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: First Base, Left Field
Players: Garrett Jones, Derrek Lee, Xavier Paul, Jose Tabata
Notes: The Pirates placed the recently acquired Derrek Lee on the DL Saturday after sustaining a broken hand from a hit-by-pitch. Lee's absence means Garrett Jones has slided down to first base with some combination of Xavier Paul and Matt Diaz taking over left. The arrangement appears very temporary, however: Jose Tabata could return to the Pirates as early as today (Monday), and would likely play right field in that case.

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Shortstop
Players: Dee Gordon, Justin Sellers
Notes: When Dee Gordon was placed on the DL at the end of last week, it seemed like Depressing City. Their season hopeless and their ownership situation hopeless-er, there appeared to be little besides Gordon (and, okay, Clayton Kershaw) to make the team interesting at all -- from a fantasy, or any other kind of, perspective. However, the player recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, Justin Sellers, appears to have something resembling game. The hitter-friendly home park and league are assuredly partly responsible for Sellers' 14 home runs, but 41:57 BB:K in 322 plate appearances points towards a player with some idea of the strike zone, too. Also, he hit a real-live home run Sunday night.

Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: First Base, Left Field
Players: Brandon Belt, etc.
Notes: In the past week, the Giants have lost Andres Torres to the DL and Carlos Beltran -- temporarily, at least -- to hand soreness. They also having a starting first baseman in Aubrey Huff who's batting just .249/.303/.381. Really, if there were a time for Brandon Belt to get some run, this is something very close to it. Belt started at first base Sunday -- his first one since being recalled the day before -- and hit his third and fourth homers of the season. With the Diamondbacks having recently taken the lead in the NL West, it's possible that Bruce Bochy will turn to whatever source of offense he can find. For the immediate future, that's encouraging for Belt.